A new study asks, if a patient has unilateral AMD (early or late), what is the chance they will develop bilateral AMD in the next 5 years?
The authors analyzed data from three huge studies (Blue Mountains Eye Study, Beaver Dam Study, and Rotterdam Study). They found that over a 5-year period, about 19–28% of unilateral AMD (early or late AMD) cases progressed to bilateral, and 27–68% of unilateral late AMD cases progressed to bilateral.
Risk factors for progression to bilateral AMD include older age, AMD genetic risk and smoking (history of or current smokers).
Take home: 20-25% of patients with unilateral AMD will progress to bilateral in five years. And, more specifically, up to 50% of patients with unilateral late AMD will progress to bilateral in five years. The only modifiable risk factor for progression is smoking.